This past weekend we hosted the Ask for Rain Conference, a 30 hour provincial call to worship and intercession. God has been doing an incredible thing on the earth in this season, raising up 24/7 worship and prayer houses across the globe to worship Him, bring edification to the body, and to equip the saints to fulfill the Great Commission. We wanted to be part of that for a weekend, so we invited Corey & Dana Russell from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City to come lead us through the weekend. 500+ people join us this past weekend in a unified desire for intimacy with God, both for ourselves and for our province. I want to say an incredible and BIG thank you to everyone who participated, including the loads of worship teams and volunteers that made this happen!
In the Parable of the Sower, found in Matthew 13:1-9, Jesus tells us the different types of responses we will see and encounter when the Word comes upon us. I read this last night, having spent the day trying to find the time to spend with Jesus. What struck me specifically was this section:
Matthew 13:5-6 “Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away”.
I had read this several times, but like Corey Russell talked about on Friday night at the conference, it is amazing that we can gaze upon God (or in this case, His Word) and continue to have new aspects of God revealed to us. I began to think of the sun, designed to bring growth to the plant, as the aspects of life that God has designed for us in order to bring us into a place of greater intimacy. Things like commitment, daily devotion, living a lifestyle of discipline and conviction…the stuff that is both difficult and required in order to grow deep into God. In the parable, the plant withers because there were no roots, and friends we need to come to understand that our roots are connected to our HEART. When we have great experiences with Christ and our excitement spring up right away, we will wither and fade away in the face of the disciplined lifestyle because the excitement we experienced was NEVER CONNECTED TO OUR HEART. Excitement fades, confusion and doubt sets in, and passion fades because we haven’t valued God’s Word and actions enough to let it impact our hearts. Conferences and experiences are an incredible gift from Him, but it is also not the epitome of our faith – it’s where we received our assignment that we are to walk out.
Take some time today to think about the assignment God has given you. For me, it was a birthing of a desire for intimacy – God revealed His intimacy for me, and in turn I want to work to become more intimate with Him. What is your assignment today? What are you going to carry out until the next season? Much like the parable of the talents, we must value what God has given us. And when God has given us His Glory, we must nurture our hearts in order to become good soil, with deep roots that desire the growth the Son brings.
We have spent a lot of time as a North American church preaching cheap grace – telling people that God is more grace than He is discipline, that we can be saved only by grace, and that His love is an everlasting love regardless of what we do. And this is all true! It’s all good and important and worthwhile. But living an undisciplined life with the expectation of grace will never bring us into a place of intimacy. And intimacy is the place God designed us to abide. Church, we must surrender ourselves fully to the Lord. What that looks like will differ for all of us, but it will be characterized by the abandonment of this world for the sake of His. I believe God is in the midst of re-birthing intimacy in our city and in His Church. My prayer is that we would not hide from conviction, but would embrace the fact that God cares enough for us to continually reach out to us, calling us back into an intimate relationship with Him.